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woodwitchofthewest

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Everything posted by woodwitchofthewest

  1. I hope it resumes fruiting for you next year!
  2. Oh, one more thing! I have found that using a steam juicer (Mehu Liisa is one brand, but there are others) to extract the juices from the seeds or pits, and then using the juice to make the wine yields a very nice product. You lose a little of the scent, but not enough to really worry about, because the steaming is gentle on the fruit. The flavor ends up somewhat concentrated as well. The resulting juice is effectively pasteurized, so you don't have to use campden tablets on it before you pitch your yeast. That could be another way to keep the bitterness down when using fruits with bitter seeds.
  3. Btw, I once had an apricot mead that probably matched your rowan wine for its battleship paint stripping ability. Gawds, that stuff was naaaasss-ty. I couldn't imagine it would ever be drinkable, but I decided to give it time and see what happened. FIVE YEARS later, it was just lovely! Aging really does wonders. Oh, and maybe think about adding a bit of "oak" to your rowan wine. I suspect that would be a wonderful combination! I added just a touch of lightly toasted oak chips to my huckleberry mead just before I bottled it and it took it from really really good, to sublime.
  4. Ok, how long did you age your wines after they finished fermenting? Some wines just take a fair bit of time to become drinkable, especially if they have an alcohol content on the higher side. For example, some of my meads take at least 4 years to lose their harshness and be drinkable. One of my best huckleberry meads was at its peak at 6 years old. The rose wine here is three years old now and until some time this year, it was like drinking straight up cologne from a bottle. I suspect it will be at its best next year and for the next one or two years after that. If you aren't aging your wines before deciding if they are success or failure, that could be the main issue. I generally keep new wines in a gallon jug (since that's my most common batch size) in a dark part of my kitchen, so I can keep an eye on the water level in the fermentation lock and sneak a bit every few months to test for maturity. This is called "bulk aging," if you've not run across that practice before. Once the wine loses the harshness, I adjust the sweetness if needed, give it a little time to make sure fermentation doesn't start back up, and then bottle it for keeping. Btw, if you ferment blackberries for a long time on the seeds - especially if you have boiled them first - they will leach bitterness into the wine. Although rowan berries, as I'm sure you know, can also be pretty bitter on their own. To counteract this you might want to rack the wine off the fruit lees pretty quickly - generally within a few days or at the most, a week or two - basically, right after the first fermentation has "stilled." The flavor will already be there, and it will keep the deeper acids and bitters from leaching in. If the flavor isn't strong enough, try using more fruit next time.
  5. Thank you for sharing this! I wish it was more acceptable for people to be open about these things, but it's not. I think some folks are afraid, some jealous, some just don't believe and think others are weird who do. But I learned a long time ago that "there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio... "
  6. What kind of failures have you been having? I'm happy to try to help troubleshoot this with you if you like.
  7. For example, I knew the morning of the Challenger explosion that something bad was going to happen. I was a big shuttle fan - once traveled to watch one land at Lake Edwards, and after we moved to Texas, I used to watch all of the shuttle launches and landings on TV. But that morning I turned the TV and radio off, and refused to watch or listen because I didn't think I could handle seeing something bad happening live. My mom called me a few minutes after the explosion with the news. So, try telling that to a room of average folks. What would their reactions be? Most would think I was deliberately lying. Some would think I was just nuts. Very few would consider that I experienced this just as I said I did, and even then would likely be very uncomfortable about it. You can bet dollars to donuts that my relationship with these folks would never be the same, and might never really recover from my unfortunate attempt to share something rather extraordinary with them. That is why I just don't talk about it with most folks.
  8. Yes, and people who have never experienced it and don't believe in it tend to write you off as nuts. Which makes life a lot more ... difficult.
  9. My mom was one of those folks who believed that being "Christian" meant you were a good person. And, not being "Christian" meant you were a bad person. (That - and other reasons - are why I never told her about my personal beliefs.) So I'm not surprised she didn't take up anything overtly pagan or witchy. But I think you are right that a lot of people do. It doesn't really bother me unless they try to get into my business and tell me how I'm doing everything wrong. But they are sometimes very difficult to be around, because they often come across as smug. THAT does bother me!
  10. Thanks! I wish I could say yes, I do have a recipe! but I rarely use one these days. The basic process is: Pick a bunch of fragrant rose petals - I usually pick a couple of gallons for a small batch. Taste the white ends (the part where they are attached to the rose stems) and if they are bitter, pinch them off. My Apothecary's Roses are not very bitter at all, so I don't bother doing this. Let the petals sit out on a clean towel for a couple of hours or so to let the spiders and such crawl away. It's way easier than handpicking them from the pile of petals and you won't be straining dead spiders out of your rose water later. Put a pot of water on to simmer - how much depends on how many petals you have and what size batch of wine you plan to make. I generally make small batches, so I start with about a gallon or so. Dump the rose petals into the simmering water, turn off the fire, and let it steep until cool. Strain out the petals and check the strength. If it is not as strong as you'd like, pick another batch of petals and do a second infusion in the same water, after bringing it briefly back up to a low simmer. Do not boil or continue to simmer the petals, or they will lose their fragrance and flavor and may become bitter. The water will likely be a dull purple at this point. Add lemon juice, a tablespoon or so at a time, until the water becomes slightly tart in taste and the color perks up and becomes bright rose. Add sugar or other sweetener (if you add honey this makes your wine into "rhodomel" which is also nice) until the water is mildly sweet. Too much sugar inhibits the yeast, and you can always add more later if needed. Pour the cooled rose water into a suitably sized fermentation jug (reserving any leftover to top the jug back off during aging - I put it into a container in the freezer so it stays in good shape) then pitch in your yeast (I use yeast made for white wines and champagne) and add a fermentation lock. Let ferment until the bubbles stop, probably a couple of weeks or so, and then rack for the first time into another clean jug. Taste the new rose wine, and if it's like drinking slightly sweet rose cologne, you're on the right track. This harshness will fade away during aging. At this point, you will need to use experience or the experienced taste buds of someone who has made a fair bit of wine, because you have a choice to make. The choice is whether to add more sugar, probably triggering a second fermentation and ending with more alcohol, or leave it as is to "bulk age" in the jug for a year or two. Someone who likes a lighter, drier wine might call it good at this point. Someone who wants to age this a bit and have a little more sweetness in the finished wine might add more sweetener and give it a second fermentation. Rack the wine at least one more time while it's aging. If the level of the jug is lower than ideal, thaw and add your reserved rose water to top it off. Each time, taste a little bit to see if the cologne taste has mellowed out. If it is still harsh, another six months of aging is probably a good idea. When the wine is clear and still, taste it one last time, rack it into your bottles and finish aging. At this point you can drink some if you like, and the rest will continue to mellow and keep for another couple of years or more, depending on how much alcohol you allowed it to develop. If you let it undergo a second fermentation, you may be able to keep the finished wine for five or six years, with it becoming a bit more mellow and distinctive each year. I especially like this for Beltane and Summer Solstice, but it's good any time. I also like it chilled. It would probably also be a nice addition to a summer punch instead of a white or rose wine from the store.
  11. Here are some pictures of the Rose Wine I just bottled up tonight. I made it about three years ago, but it's been "bulk aging" in gallon jugs until tonight. Last year, it still tasted like rose perfume. This year it still has a lovely rose flavor and scent, but it's not harsh and in your face. So I've bottled it up to keep. :-) https://imgur.com/a/ZkMtRb3
  12. My mom's side of the family is Irish, and she believed that she had second sight and that it was inherited from that side of the family. I am not sure where she got that idea, but I suspect she may have had an aunt or cousin that could "see" things beyond the norm - or thought they could - and she picked up on it as a characteristic she wanted for herself. The reason I say this is, to be honest, I cannot recall anything my mom ever shared with me that indicated she had second sight. Most of the time the subject would come up when she would call me on the phone out of the blue about something she had just "felt." Since most of her incidents of "clairvoyance" were in the form of "I just had a feeling you were having a terrible time or in danger, is everything okay?" it put me into the really bizarre position of having to continually "disappoint" my mother by replying "no, nothing odd or bad is going on here, mom...?" LOL I do have second sight, and while I do not doubt that this sort of thing can "run in families," in my own family, I cannot make a solid connection between second sight and those who came before me and my own children (now in their late 30s) have shown no signs of it themselves. So I believe that it can be hereditary, but it is not always hereditary.
  13. I think it's because few people truly have the courage of their convictions. So the way they make themselves feel better about their chosen path is to disparage others' paths. If everyone else is "wrong" then they can pretend that proves that they are "right."
  14. My husband knows I'm witchy and do Tarot, and has said he's fine with me being as Pagan as I wanna be, but - he doesn't know all of it. He's a complete materialist, doesn't believe in magic, and it would be awkward to try to talk to him about it, because his mind is made up. Most of my kids know I'm pagan, but we don't discuss the details. I have three friends that know I'm a witch, because they do witchy things, too. and we've shared a bit. I have been to one semi-local witchy Hecate ritual where everyone was a witch of some stripe, but I haven't visited again. I keep journals on tarot readings and other things, but don't share them. So I guess I'm mostly in the broom closet, and plan to stay there, as I don't trust other folks enough to not give me grief over it. Plus, in this country, there are large pockets of bigotry, and the way things are going politically, there's no way to know how knowledge like that might be used against you later. Also, I have a very insane ex who says things like it's mandatory to put family members to death who have "strayed from the path of holiness." Mostly he's a big bag of hot air, but he's just crazy enough I don't want to tempt him to look me up out of a feeling that he's somehow responsible for my soul. I would say you folks on here know more about the details of my practice than anyone else.
  15. What kind of candles do you prefer to use? Votive, stick, tea light? What kind of material? I prefer beeswax or soy wax candles. I also love beeswax/bayberry candles, although bayberry wax is expensive and sometimes difficult to find. I tend to cut it 50-50 with beeswax for better burning and less expense. I mostly use tealights and votives, although I do make tapers for the holidays to use and to give away. "This bayberry candle comes from a friend, on Solstice Eve, burn it down to the end...." Where do you get your candles? Do you make or buy them? Where or what of? We have bees, so we have beeswax. I buy the bayberry wax, though. I tend to make my own when I have time, but I also keep commercial chime candles in various colors on hand as well. What do you do with your candle remains after a spell? What if not for a spell? If there is a puddle of wax left, I may incorporate it into a new candle. If it's all burned up, I will throw away anything that can't be reused. If the candle was a tealight, the tealight container is generally reusable. How do you clean your candle holders? How do clean up wax on altars, cloths, tools or holders? I use a knife to shave off or pry away drippings. Then I run very hot water over the candle holder, finishing up with a paper towel wipe. That usually gets most of the wax off. I try not to get wax on cloths by setting something under the candle holder if it's likely to drip. How do you light your candles? Short matches, long? Lighters, wicks? Matches are my fav, but I have been known to use a butane lighter in a pinch. I put them out by blowing or by using a special candle snuffer I keep with my tools.
  16. 1. What is your favorite witchy movie? Practical Magic, but only because of the Aunts and the conservatory. Oh, and that kitchen. Wow. 2. Where is your favorite place to do a spell? In my office/workroom 3. Where do you NORMALLY do your spells? In my office/workroom 4. What type of spells are your favorite? Growth, protection, illumination 5. What is your favorite ingredient for a spell? Essential oils 6. What is your LEAST favorite ingredient to use in a spell? Weird crap I have to buy online because it doesn't grow here. 7. What is your favorite witchy holiday/festival? Winter Solstice 8. Do you have an animal spirit, If yes, how many? Not any particular one. I do identify strongly with turtles and dogs, though. 9. If yes to #8, name the animal spirit(s): 10. Name your favorite witchy character: Aunt Frances 11. When was the last time you did a hex/curse? A decade ago. 12. When was the last time you did a blessing/healing? Too long ago, need to do some more soon 13. When was the last time you did a binding? A few days ago. 14. When was the last time you did a love spell? Never. 15. Have you ever done a spell on someone just because you were bored? No 16. What is your strength as a witch? Seeing patterns, sensing the future 17. What is your weakness as a witch? High ritual. Just not my thing. 18. If you could go back in time to meet ANYBODY associated in witchcraft, who would it be and why? Not sure, never thought about it. 19. How much of a "modern stereotyped witch" applied to you as a witch? Some, I guess. I have lots of pretty rocks, lots of dried stuff in mason and apothecary jars, I garden, I live in the woods, I grow plants in the house, like rustic stuff. Keep two large iron cauldrons in my kitchen to hold my cooking utensils. I like capes. 20. How long have you been a member of this forum? A couple of months.
  17. Yup, exactly! Pumpkin pie is wonderful stuff, but takes a fair bit of time to bake. This is most of the good flavor of a pie, but takes less than five minutes to mix and heat up.
  18. Testing how the signature stuff works...
  19. Hot Pumpkin - not an exact recipe, so feel free to tinker. For each mug of Hot Pumpkin, use: 1-2 heaping tablespoons of cooked pumpkin puree (canned or home made) enough half and half to fill the rest of the cup (say, 6 ounces or so, depending on the mug) sweetener to taste pumpkin pie spices (I use nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves) small pinch of salt splash of vanilla extract Stir until combined, then warm to the temperature you like. Serve in a mug, topped with whipped cream if you are feeling really decadent. A splash of dark spiced rum would also not go amiss...
  20. Healing I have need of often. Curses, only very rarely. ;)
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